Stunt Kites : Tips and Tricks

Choosing A Good Place to Fly Your Kites

If a nice wide open field or beach with a steady wind is just out your back door there's no need to read any further - you're in kite heaven! If you're an experienced kite flier you already know the following information.  If you live in an area with plenty of trees or buildings and you're just taking up flying kites you may want to read on. Once the safety considerations have been taken into account, where's the best place to fly your kite?

- Flying a new kite is like driving a new car. You want to take it to the beach, park or any other relaxing location that will be a great backdrop for your new experience.  Things to look for while scouting out a site to fly are pretty straightforward, once you know what to look for.

- The first thing to look for when heading out flying is which way the wind is coming from. You may have three good parks in your neighborhood and you want to pick the park that will provide the smoothest, most stable wind for that day.

- How can the field affect the wind?

It's not so much the field but what's in and around the field. Are there trees, large objects, buildings, hills, valleys? All of these things, if placed upwind from you, will cause turbulence in a normally steady wind. Stunt Kite Tips and TricksThe "rule of seven" says if you have a large object placed in a clean wind it will cause turbulence seven times as far into your flying field as the object is high. That means if you have 100' trees upwind from you, they will cause the wind to be turbulent 700' into your flying location. With a closer look at these turbulent zones you may even notice leaves that seem to be flying "into" the wind. Imagine how your kite would react in that vicinity. The further you move away from the objects, say 14 to 1, the smoother the wind will be. The trouble is you may run out of open space before you run out of turbulence.

-This is where the Beaufort Scale can get confusing, the tree branches are bent over,  the leaves are howling in the treetops and yet your kite just barely gets under way. Your kite flies for a short period then gently comes floating to the ground. You know your bridle is set right, so now what?  Look behind you, way behind you. Could you take that high-rise building and lay it on its side, end to end 7 to 14 times before it touched you? Depending on the size of the obstacle and how close you are to it, you might find the kite doing all sorts of unusual things, even flying toward you every now and then. All the while you just know it's a great day for kite flying - somewhere else.

-Preferred flying locations can be determined by wind direction. If the wind is from the south you'll  choose one field,  if it's coming from the north you'll choose from another in your selection of fields and so on. A smaller park that has 70' trees lining the south end of the field might be a poor choice in mid summer with the wind coming from the south. It may be perfect with a west or north wind.

-Winter puts a different spin on things. The trees that may have excluded a field in the summer may have lost their leaves in winter and the field's turbulent zone could now be reduced to an acceptable area, therefore some experimentation is in order.
Winter also opens up all the sports parks that were stroked off your list due to baseball , football, soccer or other summer activities.

-Consider that city parks are set up with a few goals in mind. Ideally it would be great to have water, like a river or small lake as well as trees for shade and wind breaks for picnics. An excellent place to picnic may not be what you're looking for to fly your new kite. A river nearby is usually a sign that you have chosen one of the lower spots in your area, a valley etc. and the trees in a confined picnic area will put enough turbulence in the wind to make flying almost impossible or at least frustrating.

-Single line fliers may want to add a couple of extra checkmarks to their list while looking for the perfect site. A single line kite has the advantage of being able to fly over the turbulent wind by climbing into the clean wind above the obstacles. One thing to consider if you're putting your kite up high is the safety zone around your kite. While the nearest road, bike path or hydro lines may be 440' away from you, what would happen if your kite that's up 450' suddenly got hit by a heavy gust of wind and started into a dive? All kites require an adequate safety zone when choosing a site.

-See that heliport or airport near the field you are considering? Cross the park off your list if it has either nearby.

-Soon you'll find yourself noticing open areas in your vicinity in a whole new light. You may find yourself thinking things like "this park would be great for either north or west winds" or "this field is perfect for south winds but not great for north winds" etc. After safety considerations, choosing the best place to fly based on wind direction will help you to learn what your new kite can really do.